Anti-EU UKIP leader Nigel Farage tells jeering European Parliament that he has had the last laugh

Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Mr Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-European Union United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), on Tuesday (June 28) told a jeering European Parliament he had had the last laugh after Britain defied their warnings and voted to quit the EU.

"Isn't it funny. When I came here 17 years ago and I said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the EU, you all laughed at me but you are not laughing now," Mr Farage told Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

Mr Farage said the European Union was "in denial" about its failing and wrong-headed ambitions for a united Europe from which voters were turning away in droves.

"You have imposed on them a political union and when the people in 2005 in the Netherlands and in France voted against you, you simply ignored them and brought the Lisbon Treaty in by the back door!" he told MEPs in an emergency debate on Britain's Brexit vote.

The key question now is when Prime Minister David Cameron will trigger Article 50 of that same Lisbon Treaty to start the exit negotiations.

Mr Cameron, in Brussels for what promises to be a difficult summit with his EU peers, has said that this decision must wait until his successor is in place, likely in September.

MEPs however passed a resolution saying the negotiations should begin as soon as possible.